updated 08/25/2015 AT 8:16 PM ET
•originally published 02/12/2014 AT 8:15 AM ET
“We were born very poor and into pretty humble surroundings,” the Dallas Buyers Club star, 42, told reporters at Monday’s 86th Oscar Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton. “My mother always wanted to do something better with her life [and] for her children.”
“She taught me to dream and then to do the work that it takes to make dreams become reality,” he said. “It’s been fun to bring her around.”
Aside from letting Mom in on the awards season fun, Leto’s also grateful for the chance to publicly express his gratitude for his loved ones, including brother and 30 Seconds to Mars bandmate Shannon, for their support through the years.
“The best part is to be able to thank the people that believed in you for so long,” he says. “I could spend every single one of these moments talking about my mom. She’s the best!”